down Brunswick Hotel
July 8th, 2009
Guests were turned away from the Brunswick Hotel
on Wednesday by order of the City Bureau of Fire.
Yellow signs were posted by the City Bureau of Code
Compliance and Inspections on doors and windows announcing:
“NOTICE! THIS STRUCTURE IS UNSAFE AND
ITS OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE CODE OFFICIAL.”
According to Brunswick managing partner Hamid Zahedi,
the Fire Department notified the Brunswick “out
of blue” that they would have to close down
due to fire code violations. According to Zahedi,
the contractors he had hired to implement the City’s
requirements were originally told by the City that
they had until the end of June complete their work.
This was not at all feasible, so one of Zahedi’s
contractors spoke with City officials and allegedly
received an extension until September.
If so, that verbal commitment went out the window
The Brunswick had recently completed the refurbishment
of 136 rooms which they felt was an adequate number
to serve current demand.
Zahedi expressed particular concern for the thirty
employees who were suddenly out of work.
A veteran builder/properties manager expressed surprise
that the hotel was suddenly shut down. He said that
either a violation was of such danger that closing
would be required immediately and not delayed a month,
or, if there was no immediate endangerment, an order
to close down would be issued only if reasonable efforts
were not being made to correct violations.
Bureau’s explanation of Brunswick closing
Posted on July 9th, 2009
Fire Marshal, Lt. Thomas Paul, who oversaw yesterday’s
inspection and subsequent closing of the Brunswick
* According to Paul, in the course of projects like
the Brunswick’s renovation and alarm system
upgrade, it is customary for a code official/inspector
to visit the site as often as once each week. He said
that yesterday’s inspection was of special thoroughness
because of the passed deadline. Yesterday’s
visit was, essentially, an attempt to determine whether
the existing system could serve as a sufficient “band-aid”
until the required system could be installed. And,
in the course of this more thorough inspection, a
number of problems unrelated to the alarm system were
* Paul indicated that the fire alarm system was not
the sole citation that lead to closing the hotel.
In fact, according to Paul, most of the “life
safety concerns” were discovered in the last
24 hours. As Paul puts it, “the whole was equal
to the sum of its parts”
* Because the Brunswick is privately owned, Paul did
not want to dispense detailed information regarding
the cited hazards. He encouraged me to speak with
Zahedi to gather this information.
* Paul mentioned that one major problem had to do
with the fire-resistance of some of the 9-story building’s
vertical shafts (elevators, stairwells, laundry shoots.)
* Paul asserted that the passing of the June 30 deadline
was not the sole reason for closing the hotel. If
that had been the only issue, Paul said, the Bureau
most likely would have simply issued a citation.
* Regarding the June 30 deadline, Paul said that it
had been the last of many prior extensions.
* Paul maintained that the problems discovered yesterday
were sufficient reason to close the hotel. Had they
known about these particular issues sooner, Paul said,
the hotel would have been immediately closed, as it